Retail Print & Labelling

label printer is a computer printer that prints on self-adhesive label material and/or card-stock (tags). A label printer with built-in keyboard and display for stand-alone use (not connected to a separate computer) is often called a label maker.Label printers are different from ordinary printers because they need to have special feed mechanisms to handle rolled stock, or tear sheet (fanfold) stock. Label printers have a wide variety of applications, including retail supply chain management, retail price marking, packaging labels, blood and laboratory specimen marking, and fixed assets management.

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Katun Business Colour toner for use in Canon imageRunner C5180/CLC 4040-series digital copier/printers

Katun Business Colour toner for use in Canon imageRunner C5180/CLC 4040-series digital copier/printers

Katun Corporation, supplier to the office equipment industry, has launched Katun Business Colour toner for use in Canon iR C5180/CLC4040-series digital copier/printers.

J2 Retail Systems further demonstrates its 'eco' commitment by extending its 'green' philosophy to its peripherals partners.

J2 Retail Systems further demonstrates its 'eco' commitment by extending its 'green' philosophy to its peripherals partners.

Global manufacturer of PC-based touchscreen EPoS tills, J2 Retail Systems, has taken its commitment to eco-friendly EPoS manufacture, usage and disposal a stage further.

Citizen introduces compact, robust and portable printers

Citizen introduces compact, robust and portable printers

Citizen Systems Europe, manufacturer of label, barcode, portable and POS printers, has launched its latest generation of truly mobile printers that have been developed to provide compact and robust printing virtually anywhere.

Axicon achieves GS1 UK accreditation and launches continuous scan S Range barcode verifiers

Axicon achieves GS1 UK accreditation and launches continuous scan S Range barcode verifiers

Axicon, the barcode verification solutions provider, has achieved accreditation under the new Solution Provider Accreditation scheme from GS1 UK, the supply chain standards body.

New EasyLabel Net Print Server

New EasyLabel Net Print Server

EasyLabel Net Print Server (ELNPS) is an application that provides a web browser-based interface for label selection and printing.

Zebra Technologies announces two senior promotions affecting the EMEA sales team

Zebra Technologies announces two senior promotions affecting the EMEA sales team

Zebra Technologies Europe has announced two senior promotions affecting its EMEA sales organisation. These appointments reflect the company's continued success and growth across the region.

Stinkyink.com gains BSI Kite Mark: ISO 9001:2008

Stinkyink.com gains BSI Kite Mark: ISO 9001:2008

Stinkyink.com has been awarded the ISO 9001:2008 kite mark by the British Standards Institute in recognition of the company's high level of quality management.

Citizen printers enhance productivity at City Link

Citizen printers enhance productivity at City Link

Citizen Systems Europe has supplied its latest technology to City Link, enabling the express delivery company to produce address labels faster and with increased accuracy.

Konica Minolta launches compact mono multifunctional

Konica Minolta launches compact mono multifunctional

Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) has launched the bizhub 20, a versatile and compact monochrome multifunctional offering duplex print and copy, colour scan and fax functions as standard.

EasyLabel 5 Terminal Server Labelling Software

EasyLabel 5 Terminal Server Labelling Software

Tharo Systems, Inc. has launched the Terminal Server version of its EasyLabel 5 software for product identification, bar code and RFID labelling.

Retail Print & Labelling

Global enterprises are looking for ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency and accuracy in their supply chains. To remain competitive, distribution centres, manufacturers, and logistics providers must change the way they label and track goods. Success depends on maximizing efficiency throughout all supply chain operations—front to back. Exploiting mobile labelling technology is fundamental to achieving optimal efficiency.

Wireless bar code and radio frequency identification (RFID) label printing is widely recognised by major retailers globally as an essential technology for enhancing store operations. The ability to print real-time information in the aisle, on demand, saves time, effort, and money—creating competitive advantages.

Mobile printing gives users the flexibility to print materials on demand wherever they may be. Seamless mobility can drive new business processes that improve worker productivity, labelling accuracy, and responsiveness to customer needs.

RFID smart label
RFID Smart label printer/encoders use media that has an RFID inlay (chip and antenna combination) embedded within the label material. An RFID encoder inside the printer writes data to the tag by radio frequency transmission. The transmission is focused for the specific location of the tag within the label. Bar codes, text, and graphics are printed as usual. Printable RFID tags contain a low-power integrated  circuit (IC) attached to an antenna and are enclosed  with protective material (label media) as determined  by the application. On-board memory within the IC stores data. The IC then transmits/receives information through the antenna to an external reader, called an interrogator. High frequency (HF) tags use antennas made of a small coil of wires, while ultrahigh frequency (UHF) tags contain dipole antennas with a matching wire loop.

Bar code symbols may be produced in a variety of ways: by direct marking, as with laser etching or with ink jet printing; or, more commonly by imaging or printing the bar code symbol onto a separate label. Precision of bar code printing is critical to the overall success of a bar-coding solution.

On-site Printing

On-site printing generally takes place at or near the point of use. The data encoded is usually variable, entered by an operator through a keyboard or downloaded from the host computer. On-site printing most often involves purchasing label-design software as well as printer hardware. Bar code printers come with their own proprietary programming languages that support all the standard symbologies, and they are capable of printing simple data-static or serialized bar code labels on their own.

However, labels that require additional formatted text, graphics, or multiple fields will require a separate label-design software package. Currently, more than 100 packages exist that are designed for a wide range of platforms and have a wider range of features. Once the purview of programmers, label design can now be accomplished by non-programmers via easy-to-use WYSIWYG graphical interfaces.

The most common bar code print technologies for on-site use are:

Direct Thermal — Heating elements in the printhead are selectively heated to form an image made from overlapping dots on a heat-sensitive substrate.

Thermal Transfer — Thermal transfer printing is a digital printing process in which material is applied to paper (or some other material) by melting a coating of ribbon so that it stays glued to the material on which the print is applied. Thermal transfer technology uses much the same type of printhead as direct thermal, except that an intervening ribbon with resin-based or wax-based ink is heated and transfers the image from the ribbon to the substrate. It contrasts with direct thermal printing where no ribbon is present in the process.

Barcode printers with thermal-transfer and direct thermal technology produce accurate, high-quality images with excellent edge definition.

Dot Matrix Impact — A moving printhead, with one or more vertical rows of hammers, produces images by multiple passes over a ribbon. These passes create rows of overlapping dots on the substrate to form an image. Serial dot matrix printers produce images character by character; high-volume dot matrix line printers print an entire line in one pass.

Ink Jet — This technology uses a fixed printhead with a number of tiny orifices that project tiny droplets of ink onto a substrate to form an image made up of overlapping dots. Ink jet printers are used for in-line direct marking on products or containers.

Laser (Xerographic) — The image is formed on an electrostatically charged, photo-conductive drum using a controlled laser beam. The charged areas attract toner particles that are transferred and fused onto the substrate.

Off-site Printing
Generally speaking, commercial label printers may use flexographic, letterpress, offset lithographic, rotogravure, photocomposition, hot stamping, laser etching, or digital processes to produce a consistently higher-grade label than those labels produced by on-site printers.

If the content of the bar code symbol is known ahead of use, a commercial label supplier is generally the best choice. However, there are tradeoffs. Commercially supplied labels have to be ordered, stocked, and placed in inventory. A business with frequent product line changes and/or label changes will have to weigh its options carefully.

Editorial: +44 (0)1892 536363
Publisher: +44 (0)208 440 0372
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